Dogs Are People Too…

I washed my dog this morning, clipped his nails and got out the door to go see the vet for his regular check-up. Because I did not have any cash on me, I walked a little further to get coffee, to a place that takes cards.

I go in this place frequently enough. Though the “law” says dogs cannot go into food establishments, both of my closest coffee shops allow them. When I bring the pup in there, I carry him in my hoodie, just to be respectful of others.

Today, I go in and order a mocha and bagel to go. I have my dog on my shoulder.

I’m waiting for my food, when I get the feeling that someone is staring at me. I look around and my eyes land on one of the most foul specimens of human waste I’ve ever seen. Literally, this man is the human version of “Jabba the Hut”. He is a desending pile of tires of fat, rings of flesh telescoping towards the ground. He is shaped like a fleshy soft-serve, ice cream cone. His skin is yellow from jaundice and his eyes are bright red in the lids and whites, showing “Pink Eye” at the very least.

This foul man-pile yells at me from his stench-seat, “The dog goes outside”. I reply, “Are you the owner? I’m not leaving him outside.” I go back to waiting… “It’s the law” says flesh-sore-man, “Are you above the law? I’ll call the Board of Health.”

I grab my stuff to go and say to him loudly, so the whole cafe gets the message, “When you call the Board of Health, tell them you have a full-blown case of the infection known as “Pink Eye”, and that everything you have touched, including that stainless steel spoon someone else will later use, is infected.” I continue, “Tell them the money you gave the cashier, has now been handled by the same people handling the customer’s food. Tell them you have now exposed your infection to everyone in the cafe. Maybe you should think about THAT next time you worry about health codes…”

Do I need to take my 4th Anger Management class? YES.

Is it ridiculous that in San Francisco, an 8 pound, freshly-bathed dog is a health hazard, when in EVERY corner of this city, the average San Franciscan comes upon human fecal matter on every train, door handle, cafe, bathroom they use because this city is swarming with filthy, homeless crackheads?

YES, more than I need Anger Management, YES.

I pick my dog’s crap up, no matter where it lands. EVERY DAY when I walk to work, I dodge SEVERAL piles of human waste. The people who made those piles can go into any establishment they like. But I can’t bring my 8 pound, clean dog on my shoulder to get a coffee to go without having some ridiculous law spouted at me from Jabba the Jaundiced?

The LAW must GO!

18 Comments so far

  1. Richard Ault (richard) on June 28th, 2008 @ 4:54 pm

    Lmao… great points Kaili. I’ve cleaned up so much damn human waste at this point it’s sickening. On the flip, and most parents in this city will agree, it’s maddening that there are more dogs than kids in SF. But that’s for another thread, another day. :-)

  2. slau on June 29th, 2008 @ 8:24 am

    Good for you! I’m glad you gave him a piece of your mind. I must need anger mgmt too. I have said similar things to people that just need to mind their own damn business.

  3. mschool on June 29th, 2008 @ 10:13 am

    I would prefer not to be patron at a business which does not allow dogs, then risk the heartache of losing my two bichons to a stranger, after tying them up outside. That’s what I say to the people at Bank of America and the US Postal Office, who have the "no dogs but seeing eye dogs posted". Most San Francisco workers will back down about this when confronted. They know it’s bullshit and they know that dog owners are responsible people. In fact it’s not the workers who call the Health Department 9 out of 10 times, it’s the pollyanna customers.

    IMHO Human feces is more prevalent than dog feces on the streets of SF.

    Coffee shops should allow dogs because they do not have kitchens or food prep.

    Did you know that Walgreens allows dogs? Washington Mutual Bank allows dogs?
    Yet RiteAid may tell you that you can’t bring your dog inside. Is this a case-by-case harassment of dog owners?

    My dogs are my family.

    With the birth rate declining in SF and the dog licenses growing, surely we should start to call our Supervisors and say that this law is too antiquated for SF in 2008. Who does it serve? Who does it protect? When was the last time a human got sick from the presence of a dog in a restaurant?

  4. Kaili (kailiotter) on June 29th, 2008 @ 4:58 pm

    Thank you all for your words of encouragement! At one point in between the first contact and my final outburst, a fellow customer said "Don’t even talk to him, he’s crazy…" But still. There shouldn’t BE such a horrendous law. One time, Starbucks wouldn’t let him in, so some stranger bought me a coffee because they thought it was stupid.

    The two cafes I go to always allow him in! He’s small and clean and nowhere NEAR the food. I HOLD him for fks sake. I don’t even put him down on the floor. And this day, I was ordering "To Go" anyway, as we were on the way to the vet…

    I love San Francisco, don’t get me wrong, but no street cleaner on earth can possibly clean up the human waste on the streets; the needles, the broken glass. I walk down a street I called the "Valley of Broken Dreams" everyday. EVERY day at least three cars have had there windows smashed out. There are needles, piles of crap, crack pipes and baggies; not always empty, on every block. I actually TAKE PICTURES of it… and even chock it up to part of the charm of SF. (har har)… BUT, in light of the fact that the people who do all this are spreading their germs and filth on the same salad bars, BART ticket machines, you name it; LET ME ORDER A COFFEE WITH MY DOG IN PEACE…

    I started writing people today… the law must go!

  5. Kaili (kailiotter) on June 29th, 2008 @ 5:00 pm

    addendum to above post: Someone bought me coffee because I wouldn’t leave my dog outside, so began to leave the cafe coffee-less.

  6. jiminycricket on June 30th, 2008 @ 5:23 pm

    Let me be the first to take the other side of this issue. I’ll do so without referring to unnamed "other dog owners" and their activities so that the discussion doesn’t bog down.
    Your arguments for allowing your dog into this cafe seem to be:

    1. My dog is clean.
    2. The guy who yelled at me was gross looking.
    3. There’s a bunch of dirty things that humans do in SF that expose us to germs.

    As a non-dog owner, I support this law for a couple of reasons, the most persuasive being that in general, dogs do things and carry things into places that humans do not. Dogs lick their own ass, delve into other dogs’ nether regions as a rule, eat things off the ground that are not edible, do not shower daily, and otherwise introduce hazards into settings where they are not typically introduced. Management reserves the right not to seat/serve people who do not meet their standards of grooming, and in restaurants I’ve been in people are kicked out if they don’t meet these standards. I’m sure your dog is very clean and well taken care of, and I commend you for that. I am a cat lover myself, but dogs are ok in my book. It’s simply unreasonable to expect staff at an eating establishment to inspect every dog that comes in for cleanliness, and in general staff can expect that the average dog will be dirtier than the average human.

    I think it’s incumbent upon you, the dog owner, to take extra caution to ensure that you will not make others uncomfortable with your dog’s presence. You claim that you do that at other coffee shops, and I commend you for that. I am a smoker, and I always ask if I’ll be bothering others by smoking when at a restaurant with outdoor seating. I never smoke around children. I do these things because I believe it is incumbent upon me to not bother others with my own personal tastes. I think you should be expected to do the same. I know smoking is illegal inside of restaurants, so I don’t have a lit cigarette when I enter, because even if the staff doesn’t mind, some patrons might, and they didn’t expect to have to deal with my smoke when going out to eat. Dogs make some people similarly uncomfortable, so I think that you should be in the habit of getting used to leaving your dog outside or asking before you bring him inside.

    We simply must have different laws for humans and for animals for public health and the greater good. It is not harassment to request that you follow the law. It is a "do unto others" issue.

  7. Kaili (kailiotter) on June 30th, 2008 @ 10:07 pm

    I simply do not agree. By your own argument, the cafe workers have the right to refuse service to customers. Though many of them do NOT refuse service, because they "feel bad". I’m asking for the same discretion for my dog. If I get permission, the cafe owner shouldn’t be "breaking the law" to say sure, "bring him in"…

    And sorry, the smoking argument doesn’t even work. Dogs don’t cause cancer.

    I will NEVER leave my dog outside. I would sooner not do business. He is small and not safe on the streets here. My two local coffee shops allowed him in after being asked while he was outside with a companion. They even ASK for him. They know his name. I am a regular at these places. Yet it is illegal for these people to be able to make the decision to let my dog come into the establishment on my shoulder?

    He’s not going to go in the back and make a sandwich.

    It’s not right.

    And, as far as the "Do unto others" issue; Mr. Pink Eye is sitting there spreading a set of germs gotten by contact between human feces and the eyeball.

    My dog may lick his butt from time to time, but he doesn’t have his own crap in his EYE like the foul patron of the cafe.

    That man, who had everything to say about my dog, went in and spread his foul eye puss to his heart’s content.

    And in THIS city, dogs absolutely DO NOT go into regions "humans" don’t… I saw a man eat a still-quivering PIGEON in front of the Power Exchange!!! On the contrary, the dogs of this city would find themselves a puddle or hose to wash off in MONTHS before some of the people I see crawling around looking for baggies in their own vomit.

    AND THAT, is my point: if this were some dainty Cape Cod town with perfect little everything, fine, have your prissy law. But it isn’t, it’s San Francisco, AND Marina area withheld, it’s littered with dirty, foul, drug-fiends covered in their own excrement. With that in mind, the cafe owners should be allowed to decide what dogs can come in their establishment, seeing as MUCH WORSE CONTAMINANTS are on every single surface from human hands.

  8. Kaili (kailiotter) on June 30th, 2008 @ 10:21 pm

    PS– to Mr. Cricket: thank you for commenting and commending me for so many things. Don’t take my "barking" (har har) back at you too seriously. I’m Italian, I have 2 settings: Agro and Asleep. And of course, I had to take the opportunity to get more points in (the pigeon is one of my favorites… the whole 14 bus said, "EWWWWWWWWWWW" in unison)

  9. tenjay on July 1st, 2008 @ 10:30 am

    i think i understand why this post was written, but i don’t agree with it. the title is where it goes wrong because dogs are not people and should not be treated as people. we should be kind to animals and treat them humanely, but not as humans.

  10. Kaili (kailiotter) on July 1st, 2008 @ 11:05 am

    I could’ve made it "Let’s treat dogs like beautiful companions they truly are…" , but I didn’t want to throw up all over myself while drinking my latte and doing yoga.

    In my opinion, animals are often better than people.

    "Humans" need a WARNING TAG to keep them from taking a shower with a hair dryer.

    But, if you’re hung up on "being human", Orca Whales have exhibited many "human" traits; not to mention, we are both mammals. And whales can communicate through thousands of miles without telephones. I guess you could consider the Sonic Layer kinda like the internet that is free in most cafes.

    There are religions that worship animals.
    With that in mind, not allowing animals could be an insult to some cultures.

    And, furthermore, go to an emergency room and ask about "animal bites". The actual cause of the infection isn’t the bite itself, it’s the FILTH that lives on the HUMAN skin getting into the bite hole.

    So, maybe we should wait outside while our dogs get coffee…

  11. cd (cndn) on July 1st, 2008 @ 3:23 pm

    There’s a big divide between the US and most of Europe on this issue. Italy and France, for example, frequently allow dogs into shops and cafes (or at least on patios). There were many Cole Valley dogs who would pop into Reverie when I was a regular there (a few years back now) – they didn’t bother me. They weren’t in there daily, but sometimes. Fine, whatever. BUT, since it IS the prevailing law not to allow dogs in, I think that if someone – anyone – raises a concern, then it’s in the cafe/etc’s owners interests to politely ask the patron’s pooch to wait outside. There are fewer dog owners – or fewer dog owners with dogs in tow – than non-dog-holding patrons, so business sense must prevail.

    I wonder how/if this story would’ve been different if the person raising a stink wasn’t himself stinky.

    Most of all, though I felt compelled to comment because it seems you’ve taken your medical facts from "Knocked Up." Pink eye doesn’t come from putting feces in your eyeball any more than any sickness can come from putting feces anywhere besides the toilet. Pink eye is just a common name for a physical manifestation that can be cause by any number of germs and bacteria, viruses, etc.

    I guess, bottom line, I found this an odd (oddly San Franciscan?) to get so angry at a homeless guy. It’s ironic that HE would care about health standards, but hell, in the grand scheme of things, we’re far better off, no?

  12. Kaili (kailiotter) on July 1st, 2008 @ 3:37 pm

    I’m finding it odd that no one understands sarcasm or humor? Ummm…. (I reserve the right to have a sense of humor… I need to edit my bio, clearly…)

    The ER, animal bite thing is actually true (real-life experience there); and yes, PINK EYE is a common name, yes, and it can be caught in a number of ways, such as handling something a nasty guy with pink eye has handled.

    I don’t think he was actually wiping crap in his eyes… though, I’m not sure to be honest.

    And you know, it wasn’t ALL that he was stinky, it was really his approach, mostly. He didn’t ask the owner if I could take my dog out, he didn’t ask me politely, he started barking at me, as if he were actually someone I gave a crap about. He said "DOG OUTSIDE!" like he were some parental-figure, to which I will always say, SCREW YOU. And yes, partially because he was icky (do people want to eat with HIM in there? NO) … and the first thing I said to him was, "I’m ordering to go, and they gave me permission"… to which he should’ve SHUT THE FKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK UP!!!!!!!! And THAT is the POINT, a CRAP BAG like that shouldn’t HAVE a stupid law to spout at me… He was a crazy… fine, one patron even said to me "Ignore him, he’s crazy…" But the point is still, HE can sit there with his craziness and puss but my dog "legally" can’t ???

    again… LAW MUST GO…

    (Keep in mind, the owners rolled their eyes at him, and served me, and DID NOT ask me to take the dog out, still… which they should be able to do WITHOUT breaking the law…)

  13. Kaili (kailiotter) on July 1st, 2008 @ 3:40 pm

    PS: About business sense: Since there is an estimated 120,000 dogs in SF, an estimated 1 dog to every 7 people, I wonder how it would affect sales if dog-owners stopped spending money where they can’t bring their dogs…

    THAT would be interesing…

    Would they lose the money of 120,000 potential paying customers? For stinky guy? I don’t think so…

  14. jiminycricket on July 1st, 2008 @ 3:57 pm

    Well Kaili, I think you’re revealing some unfortunate biases about the down and out of society here that cloud your point about dogs. Everyone, even so-called crap bags, is entitled to protection under the laws of San Francisco. You can hypothesize about him breaking laws outside your view, but you were the violator of the law here, and as I argued earlier, its up to you to make sure you don’t bother anyone with that choice. Did you know about this law before? I think you did, and so I’d argue you’re in the wrong in bringing your dog into this cafe, and the staff is in the wrong for allowing you to do so without asking their customers.

    Were you more offended by finding out about the law or by a person you consider gross spouting it to you? I think the latter, in which case you might try to do the nice thing and have a little understanding for the person who so bothered you.

    I’m no fan of our homeless problem myself (and we don’t know if he WAS homeless or just ugly), and I certainly don’t want to go camp out in the streets in solidarity, but these people are people and entitled to the same rights and protections that you and I enjoy. Just because you didn’t like the way he looks doesn’t mean he was wrong; he was just a jerk about telling you about the law.

    You should make your choices based on your interests; if you want to only patronize business that allow dogs, do so. I try not to patronize business that allow dogs for the opposite reason. Perhaps you should petition your supervisor…..

  15. Kaili (kailiotter) on July 2nd, 2008 @ 7:48 am

    I already covered all your points.

    A) I did patronize a cafe that actually ASKS to see my dog, frequently.
    B) My bias is with rude people.
    C) It is the LAW I want to change.

    And, moreover, I did petition my supervisor, I have rights too. SINCE I am fairly certain I’ve paid a bit more in taxes than this man— I feel I have an interest in the laws that effect my daily life, maybe a little more. At least one other person in the cafe was annoyed with him, while three people in the cafe were greeting me and my dog, so he was being the idiot. (Law or not…)

    And furthermore, I’m going to quit coffee this weekend. I’ve decided it’s an expensive, stupid habit that forces me into the company of puss-eyed crap bags.

  16. Kaili (kailiotter) on July 2nd, 2008 @ 8:06 am

    Keep in mind everyone, we live in a city that "breaks the law" every day.

    And the PEOPLE of the city even more.

    This is ESPECIALLY true with the "Medical Marijuana" issue. The Federal Government opposes this law and raids clinics and dispensaries regularly. This is a whole other topic. But IMHO, I think even if the pot doesn’t always go to cancer patients, it goes to some. If pot works better than OxyContin to help pain and reduce suffering, who is this law suiting? Sounds like Big Pharma.

    Protesting the war can be considered "Treason" and has in the past. And blocking roadways during a protest, including "Critical Mass" also against the law.

    Flying pillars is against the law.

    And, let’s not forget that being in an official relationship with someone of the same sex was illegal ONE MONTH AGO.

    So, if your argument is that I PERSONALLY, should SUCK IT UP and FOLLOW THE LAW, you should THINK about your reasoning given our location.

    I think it is fair to say we live in an area where some of these laws don’t fit, so people BREAK them to CHANGE them.

    We also live in an area where a LOT of PEOPLE have poor hygiene for whatever reason and spread germs, just through the transfer of money alone, that will affect any cafe, more than a dog on a leash. I’m going to break that law, whenever it is not offending the cafe owner, because personally, I do respect the owner’s opinion. This "law" is "supposed to be" about "Public Health"; with that reasoning, since humans are a bigger threat to the human public health, this dog law makes no sense.

    I do NOT respect the law on this matter, because it makes no sense.

    Just like anyone who rides a bike against a light, or in the middle of "Critical Mass" just like anyone who smokes pot, who frequents a marijuana dispensary, just like anyone who drinks in public during the Haight Street Fair, or marches in the middle of the street to stop a war… I’m going to break the law… and I’m going to YELL at people who tell me not to… JUST like everyone else in San Francisco, because THIS is what I care about, right now… and I deserve to yell about what I CARE about, just like everyone else.

  17. jiminycricket on July 2nd, 2008 @ 8:57 am

    The difference is between breaking laws that do not cause others harm or inconvenience and those that do. Smoking pot in your own home won’t harm anyone. Being in a same sex relationship won’t harm anyone. Riding a bike against a light or participating in Critical Mass tends to negatively influence your target audience and not sway people toward your point of view. You are not respecting the opinions of the cafe patrons if you’re not going to ask, and most of the time, owners of coffee shops will not be present or available to answer your request to bring your dog inside. That’s selfishness. Selfishness is what makes large cities less livable. So yes, my argument is, you should suck it up and not infringe upon my rights under the law. It’s the difference between "freedom from" and "freedom to". How well has Critical Mass done at changing the car culture of SF? How successful have the ANSWER protests been at stopping the war? Sometimes yelling has the opposite effect that is intended.

  18. Kaili (kailiotter) on July 2nd, 2008 @ 10:12 am

    Smoking pot in your home doesn’t effect anyone? I haven’t found that to be true.

    ACTUALLY, I lived above people who smoked a LOT of pot in their home in it DID negatively effect my life. The smoke came up through the floorboards every day. I’m a non-smoker and it was an absolute nuisance to have my apartment become a virtual bong everyday.

    Conservatives argue that offering marriage to same-sex couples will at least throw insurance numbers for companies into a tail-spin.

    My dog is part of my family and this cafe offered it’s services to me and my dog.

    The guy who complained was the kind of guy who just likes to comment on other people’s lives without looking at himself at all. Not a loyal patron, just a nuisance. As I mentioned before, another regular patron came to ME and said "ignore him, he’s crazy…"

    Personally, I would like to be able to dine out without someone’s wild 2 year-old practically breaking the glass of the front door by banging it for about 20 minutes on and off, as happened last night… rabid toddlers are a nuisance to me… but there’s nothing I can do about that…

    These are all people’s arguments. You’re entitled to yours, but they are just your opinions, about what you perceive to be affecting people’s lives from solely your own viewpoint.
    They are not facts.

    My opinion is the law is inappropriate and I’m going to try to change it.

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